Women’s Gifts

There is much talk among Christian feminists of the necessity of utilizing “women’s gifts” in the Church and of the subsequent necessary ordination of women in order to allow for this utilization. Obviously nobody wants to have anyone’s gifts in the Church go unutilized, and so both fairness to women and love for the Church (it is argued) demand that women be ordained to all orders in the Church. Most of the…

Looking at the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

I cannot be the only Orthodox pastor to have been asked occasionally by my people about the meaning of the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian. In its (OCA) translation, it reads, “O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and…

Reclaiming St. David (feast day March 1)

Devotion to St. David of Wales (and to all the western saints) serves a very important role in the Orthodox Church—it rescues us from the accusation that we are merely “the Eastern Church” (as some textbooks describe us), the eastern half of a sundered and broken body. Many in the west see Orthodoxy indeed as “the Eastern Church”—something exotic, foreign, exciting, mysterious. A wonderful church to visit (all that enriching symbolism!), but,…

Ontological Equality and Hierarchical Subordination

If there is one thing that is lamentably common in almost all feminist writing it is the apparent inability to reconcile the complementary concepts of ontological equality and hierarchical subordination. Briefly, if two things are regarded as ontologically equal then by definition one cannot be subordinate to the other. Thus, it is ceaselessly argued, because a wife is the ontological equal of her husband therefore it follows she cannot legitimately be subordinate…

“Ye Must be Born Again”

Christ’s counsel to Nicodemus that “ye must be born again” (John 3:7) with its assertion that one must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God is arguably the favourite verse of Protestant Evangelicals. It certainly formed the bedrock of Evangelical preaching and the goal of such preachers as Billy Graham. The phrase left the subculture of Evangelicalism and entered the conceptual landscape and the vocabulary of mainstream American culture with…

Photos from Furman University, South Carolina

 With Fr. Marcus Burch, Chancellor of the Diocese of the South, my host in the area and arranger of the talk at Furman University.        The crowd at the Daniel Chapel of Furman University where the talk “Who Goes to Hell?” was given.  The chapel (which holds about 380) was full; about 50 were turned away for lack of space due to fire codes (which one person thought amusing, given…